|Realm||Great Sharixian Republic|
|Resources||Honey, Lemons, Obsidian|
Valasharix is a region scarred by the volcano at its heart. Though dormant now the volcano has erupted twice in recent memory. The first was during the Cataclysm and marked the rise of Anir, god of death and rebirth, and the second followed over a century later and marked Anir’s death. Today the volcano (called Mount Anirkarva by the Sharix) sits amidst a wasteland that struggles to recover from the rise and fall of a god. On its northern slope, facing the Dragonbone Steppes, is the city of Shalisha, the lone city of the Sharix. Its eastern slope, however, was destroyed entirely by the second eruption, but from the wreckage a mysterious spring emerged that breathes life into the Black Plains. The western and southern slopes are dominated by the hives of the vashna, the last remnant of native, pre-Cataclysm Valasharixian life.
The parched grasslands to the north, called the Dragonbone Steppes, are dominated by the terrifyingly huge skeletal remains of a dragon that give the area its name. The detritus that surrounds it seems almost inconsequential by comparison, but the shattered remains of at least one army helps provide scale for the ash-covered skeleton. Theories about the army and the dragon as common as teeth amongst the Sharix, but the most popular is that their ancestors fought and killed a dragon. Theories, however, are all that the Sharix have as shadowy figures seen stalking the ancient battlefield have long kept all but the most foolish explorers and scavengers away. Those few foolish enough rarely return, and those who do come back haunted by the experience — and usually with only a few ancient elvish trinkets to show for it.
The cool eastern plains of Valasharix originally took its name, the Black Plains, from the ubiquitous dark volcanic rock that covers it. However, that name took on a second meaning after a spring emerged from the wreckage of the eastern slope of Mount Anirkarva. The rich, silty waters of the river that formed as a result now flow through the eastern plain and makes agriculture possible (with considerable effort) in this otherwise desolate region. In addition to bringing life to the area the Black River, as the Sharixian’s who farm there call it, dredges up old elvish relics and deposits them on its banks occasionally.
The people of Valasharix are called the ‘ash elves’ by outsiders due to their volcanic home and grey skin — and the fact they’re obviously elven. They call themselves the Sharix, the Survivors of God, and their land Valasharix, Home of the Survivors of God. However, who they were before that was lost in the Cataclysm and the devastating rise, and subsequent fall, of Anir, the (now dead) god of death and rebirth.
The Sharix have all the common elven characteristics — slender builds, pointed ears, and slanted eyes — but in addition they bear the hairless, basalt grey skin given to them by the Curse of Anir. In addition to changing their skin, the curse makes them suited to life on Mount Anirkarva’s slopes, and almost nowhere else. Elsewhere, even only as far as the Black Plains or the Dragonbone Steppes, they find the climate uncomfortably cool, and in climates humans would consider mild the Sharix find themselves unbearably cold. As a result, the Sharix wear varying degrees of heavy clothing away from their volcanic home. These clothes are typically made from the fur and feathers of migratory animals that pass into Valasharix, and due to the scarcity of appropriate materials they prize clothes that endure — this has had the side-effect of making Sharixian fashion staid as tried-and-true designs are consistently chosen.
The Sharix are matriarchal, but apart from the naturally resulting cultural trends resulting from a bias toward women there is nothing massively different between the sexes apart from different primary and secondary sexual characteristics.
Furthermore, the Sharix have a (somewhat deserved) poor reputation internationally. Part of this is due to their tendency to wear thick, obscuring, and somewhat intimidating, clothing. Another part is due to their strange fixation on keeping clean. Their social mores insist on thrice-daily ablution — once in the morning after waking, once at midday, and once at night before going to sleep. This has, sadly, led to them thinking of other peoples as ‘unclean’ due to their less obsessive attitudes toward cleanliness. However, what has the greatest impact on their relationships with other peoples is their thoughts on gods and the godly due to their past. To put it bluntly, they dislike gods on principle and mistrust their devout followers. Attempts at preaching in particular (both real and imagined) have led to most of the unpleasantness between the Sharix and other peoples.
Vashna Honey [Good]: The vasha, despite their immense size, are very docile. Like smaller bees, they will only respond with aggression if you act aggressively toward them or if you invade or threaten, their hive. The Sharix long-ago learned how to hide from the vashna, and so they regularly harvest their honeycombs.
Black River Lemons [Great]: By some quirk the water of the Black River is particularly suited to growing, of all things, lemons. As a result lemons have become an important part of the local cuisine, and now entire farming communities are surrounded by little more than lemon orchards.
Anirkarvan Obsidian [Good]: With the emergence of the mysterious spring, and the subsequent interactions between its cool water and molten rock, obsidian has become one of the most common materials available in Valasharix. The Sharix themselves use it for decoration, glass wares, and weaponry.
Labour [Need]: If there is one thing the Sharix lack, besides a strong agricultural base, it’s a labour force that can work easily beyond the slopes of Mount Anirkarva. It is possible for the Sharix to work the farms of the Black Plains, for example, but the effort required to build homes suitable to their needs makes expansion — as well as maintenance and repair of existing buildings — almost prohibitively difficult.
The Sharix once worshiped Anir, god of death and rebirth, but after over a century of mistreatment at his hands the Sharix rose up and murdered him. Small pockets of his faithful survived his death — primarily his high priests and their followers — but four-hundred years of persecution have driven them to extinction.
In the absence of an organized religion, the Sharix have embraced a loose form of animism so integral to their daily lives that it has no name. Broadly, then, they believe in the inherent spiritual nature of the physical world. In addition, they firmly believe that a person’s spirit persists after death and that strong spirits even reincarnate. This, in turn, has led to the belief that their great heroes return over and over, and it is common for exceptional individuals to be considered the reincarnation of a dead hero. Most notable amongst these reincarnated heroes are the seven who were instrumental in killing Anir: Angifer, Tierrasha, Armon, Andique, Andoria, Landia, and Roxiya. It used to be thought that these seven heroes reincarnated exclusively in their ancestors, but the events of roughly two centuries prior dispelled this particular belief.
In the last few decades, however, contact with the Tzalteca have led to a small number of converts to the Tzaltec Dragon Cult. These Sharix believe that Anir was an agent or an aspect of Kokotzitzimi meant to drive them away from Tzetultep. Reactions to these Sharix have been mostly negative, but also somewhat positive, especially by those in power due to the cult’s connection to the Tzaltec Empire.